Two notable comments jump out and I hope that CoP doesn't mind me replicating them here, although I recommend you do read the full article.
Whilst I rarely raise my head above the parapet on matters of the ex-WDA (less I am accused of bias), I am minded to contribute to this debate. As the last Marketing Director of the WDA, I am now forced to ply my trade in the SE of England, where I run Invest Thames Gateway (which does what it says on the tin!). As most Welsh Civil Servants never actually cross the bridge, allow me to tell them what is happening. Disbelief and laughter about the dismembering of the Welsh international identity, for starters. When the whole apparatus of FDI in England is being dismantled, and "localised", this should have spelt a major opportunity for the Welsh to get back into the world and push the benefits of Wales (albeit RSA free, but hey, England manage it!). This is more about certain members of the D&ET getting back at what they perceived was the last bit of the old WDA, rather than a strategic approach to opportunity creation. I suggest that Wales starts to be nice to UKTI and apologise for the rather high handed way they have acted towards them for the past 25 years, otherwise FDi will also go the way of the recent economic strategies of WAG.
"I hear that the Scots have increased their FDI & Trade budget by 25% to take advantage of the demise of RDA's and IBW!"
And if these comments weren't bad enough, there was worst to come.
A few days after WAG announced the Economic Renewal Programme (ERP) and the abolition of IBW, data was released by the UK Government which showed that a record numbers of countries invested in the UK in 2009/10, with inward investment generating 94,000 jobs over the past year, a 20 per cent rise on the previous year.
Interestingly, the South West of England want to trumpet their success to all and sundry but there has been absolute silence from the normally effervescent public relations team at DE&T about Wales' inward investment performance.
Is this because, woe betide, IBW may actually have done better than expected last year and WAG is
reluctant to share its success with the rest of the Welsh public?
There is a further article on the Regen site which examines the consequences of the abolition of the Regional Development Agencies on English regions.
As the author notes,
"If inward investment is left out of the equation and simply transferred to UKTI in Whitehall, there is a risk that the UK will only attract companies to the "easier options" of London and the South East, with the rest going to the well-resourced inward investment teams of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with their extensive overseas offices network."
I assume this piece was put together before the ERP was published and you can now scratch the inward investment team of Wales from that equation, which could make us more dependent on UKTI for drumming up opportunities for Wales.
Yes, believe it or not, a Plaid Cymru Economic Development Minister may well be responsible for returning the responsibility for inward investment back to London through his actions.
You couldn't make it up even if you wanted to.